''Touch my left shoulder, touch my right, let me be a big success tonight!''
By the time 'On The Buses' reached its third series in 1970, Reg Varney was in great demand all over the place. He would frequently be called up to host charitable events or appear on chat shows. Eventually, he got his own one off show entitled 'The Other Reg Varney', broadcast from London Weekend Television. It had the man himself performing stand-up routines, doing musical numbers ( Reg was a highly talented pianist ) and surreal sketches. It owed a great debt to Les Dawson's long running Yorkshire Television show 'Sez Les'. Sketches were penned by 'On The Buses' reliables Ronald Wolfe & Ronald Chesney, Peter Dulay, Roy Tuvey & Maurice Sellar ( who later wrote for Varney the unsuccessful ATV sitcom 'Down The 'Gate' ) and Varney himself.
These sketches, it has to be said, were far from his best work. One such sketch featured Varney as a soldier being put through a series of nerve-wracking tests in order to qualify for a position as an officer. Another sketch featured Varney and his former co star of 'Beggar My Neighbour' and 'The Rag Trade' Peter Jones as two friends who have been taken ill on holiday in Spain after eating sheep's eyes and another had Varney as a self styled Liberace performing an over the top piano ditty.
The funniest sketch had Varney as himself showing us his vast collections of art such as an old boomerang he was given whilst visiting Australia - ''A fellow actually swallowed this boomerang. Afterwards he went into a pub and got completely drunk. The governor tried to chuck him out four times but he kept coming back!''.
Appearing as his supporting players were of course Peter Jones, Percy Herbert, Frank Thornton, Shari Lewis, Claire Davenport and Dilys Watling. Mark Stuart produced whilst Howard Ross directed.
All the sketches I have mentioned here are but a small selection that were put together as a special feature on the series six DVD of 'On The Buses' and whilst not outstanding in any way nevertheless make for decent viewing. Varney stayed with LWT to go onto the fourth series of 'On The Buses' which was then followed by the first in the trilogy of 'Buses' movies.
'The Other Reg Varney' was repeated in 1972, only this time its title was changed to 'The Reg Varney Comedy Revue'.
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